Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Image Comics Now Offers DRM-Free Downloads

Scatterlands banner

How cool is Image Comics?

So cool they have their own comics convention, the Image Expo, which happened today in San Francisco. And the big digital-comic news to come out of that event is that Image is now selling digital comics straight to consumers from their website as direct downloads. The comics are available in several formats—PDF, ePub, and the comics-specific CBR and CBZ.

Both comiXology and Comics Plus carry Image comics, but readers who buy from those services can only read their comics if they are logged in to an enabled device. Many readers feel they don’t really own the comics under those circumstances. Many comics benefit from the exposure of being on a multi-publisher app or storefront, but Image has built an impressive audience with titles like The Walking Dead and Saga and may be gambling that those readers will take the time to seek them out on the new platform. And while direct downloads offer readers the advantage of DRM-free files they can share or move from one device to another, they also offer the publisher a way to sell comics without sharing part of the price with a third party.

Kiel Phegley of Comic Book Resources got some more details from Image director of business development Ron Richards. Image will start with newer comics and gradually fill in the backlist. As on comiXology, the comics will be priced at full cover price for the first month of their release and then the price will drop.

Richards feels that digital comics sales complement sales of print comics, and that many digital customers simply don’t live near a comics shop, so there is no danger that digital sales will cannibalize print. He also said that many fans, especially less tech-savvy readers, will most likely stay with comiXology and Comics Plus, and that’s fine. “I think there are people who are loyal comiXology users who have built up a collection there, and they can continue to do that,” he said. “We’re not ceasing any agreements or partnerships with comiXology or iVerse or Apple or Amazon.”

What about the very thing that DRM was created to prevent—piracy? Richards isn’t worried, “Our thought on piracy is that the only content hurt by piracy is bad content. Look at the example of ‘Game of Thrones’ on HBO. That is the most torrented television show on the internet right now, and it’s also HBO’s highest-selling DVD set. Clearly, people are pirating it, sampling it and going, ‘I want that for my DVD collection now.’ If that’s happening, it’s happening. You’re never going to fight it. You’re never going to stop it all. But if people pirate a bad comic book, they’re going to stop pirating it — and they’re going to stop buying it, too.”

While Image doesn’t have a dedicated digital-first program like DC, this week does see the launch of their first digital-first comic, Warren Ellis and Jason Howard’s Scatterlands, which was originally published as a webcomic. “It’s clear that the stuff DC and Marvel have been experimenting with are successful, but for us it’s less about ‘Okay, we need to have a digital-first product. What can we do?’ and more about the fact that we want to have compelling content from good creators,” said Richards.

Image Comics Now Offers DRM-Free Downloads is a post from: E-Reader News

Down Under: Winter in Australia

While here in Northeast Ohio we are enjoying summer with barbecues, graduation parties and baseball games, we can't forget that our partners in the Southern Hemisphere are in their winter season.  Since many of our Southern Hemisphere partners come from Australia, and since I have never been there myself, I felt the need to do a bit of research (by the way, Australia's official tourism website, www.australia.com, is fantastic).


5 Things I Learned About Winter in Australia



  1. Hiking and exploring are favorite winter-time activities since temperatures are normally mild. In Queensland and the Northern Territory the weather remains warm and dry, making these locations ideal for a vacation during school holiday.
  2. If skiing or snowboarding is a winter necessity, Victoria and New South Wales offer plenty of locations for downhill adventures.  Avid skiers also head to New Zealand for some fun on the slopes.
  3. Over 12,000 species of wildflowers bloom in Western Australia from June through September.
  4. Between May and November humpback whales travel north along the west and east coasts of Australia—a prime time for whale-watching!
  5. Since Christmas occurs in the Australian summer, holiday festivities are plentiful during the winter.  Yulefest in the Blue Mountains and the Fireside Festival in Canberra are perfect opportunities to get a taste of the holidays.

To read about hiking trails in Australia, check out Walks in Nature: Sydney and Walks in Nature: Melbourne—the maps are color-coded according to season! For additional information about whale-watching and holiday festivals (and to learn more about traveling in Australia) consider purchasing Lonely Planet's Australia or Discover Australia.


If you're in Australia and looking to engage your users this winter, why not start a Digital Book Club, or encourage your users to explore a new language, catch up on the classics, and read (or re-read!) the Harry Potter series? Our newly updated Marketing Kit has a plethora of resources for any of these winter-reading initiatives.


Do you live in Australia? What are you doing this winter to promote your digital library? In my opinion, winter in Australia sounds great—what other note-worthy winter events did my internet sleuthing not uncover?


Karen Jakubczak is an Account Specialist at OverDrive


Element14 recently held a competition for the best picture taken with the Raspberry Pi camera board. As it happens, we’d already featured the picture that won on Facebook and Google+: Dave Akerman, up to his usual very-high-jinks with more spacefaring balloons, managed to capture a pretty astonishing picture of Devon and Cornwall from the stratosphere. Today’s post is not about Dave’s picture, but here it is again for the historical record.

Click the picture to visit Dave’s blog post, explaining how a polystyrene raspberry ended up hovering in space over Devon.

The same picture, superimposed on Google Earth.

But enough about Dave; there’s lots about his flights here, and if you want to learn more you can go and have a look at his website, or check out our previous posts about his extraterrestrial Pis.

Element14′s competition could only have one winner. Which hurts my very soul, because we thought Mike Cook’s microscopy project was incredibly exciting. Emma, our office manager, who holds a PhD in entomology, has been all a-quiver with excitement about some of Mike’s pictures; I had never see the stuff that’s just behind the mouth of a blowfly before, but thanks to Mike I shall be having nightmares for decades to come. (Thanks also to Emma for the nightmares; my conversations with her about brain-altering parasites, prompted by this and by The Last of Us have been both fascinating and…lingering.)

Watch this video before you go any further.

I asked Mike to tell me a bit more about his setup. He says:

The lensman was an instrument produced by Science of Cambridge. I saw it years ago on Tomorrow’s World, about the same time as the launch of the original BBC Micro. I could not afford it then. About four years ago I wondered if eBay had one and I picked it up for about £30. It was an all green one which apparently was a special edition made for the Natural History Museum. Anyway when the Pi Camera arrived I built a mount for my telescope but what with there not being many planets in a good viewing position and it being mid summer I decided to try an make a mount for the Lensman Microscope instead. I used my home made milling machine to mill out two pieces of Lexan.

Mike’s home-made CNC milling machine. He’s that sort of guy.

Then I had to move a capacitor on the camera so I could get the bolt head in the board. Then I moved the LED to the back so it did not shine in the eye piece.

The Lensman gives 80X or 120X magnification, as well as several diffrent methods of illumination. I mainly used what is called dark field illumination for the shots I used.
The movie uses a pan effect to put a bit of movement into the stills.

Some of what you’re seeing is a couple of creatures Mike found in a pond near Wordsworth’s house in Grasmere (he named them Frank and Herbert). Other images you’re seeing are from the birdseed from his shed: Mike tells me that he thought what he was looking at was just dust, and he nearly jumped out of his skin on seeing it at 1080p on a 24-inch screen.

If you’re finding Mike’s name strangely familiar, it’s because he’s one of my childhood heros, and the author of Body Building with Mike Cook from Micro User Magazine back in the 80s. Of more relevance to people working with Pis today, he’s also co-author of Raspberry Pi for Dummies – you can read our review of the book, which we think is rather excellent, here.

If you’re at the London Maker Faire in Elephant and Castle this weekend, we’ll be there (Rob Bishop and Rachel, who you’ll read more about later this week will, at any rate); Mike will also be in attendance, so please go and say hi to him for me.

3 Exciting titles coming in July!


As our first month of summer comes to an end, we welcome in July: a month of barbeques, fireworks, blockbusters, and exciting new books to enjoy by the pool. Look for these hot new titles to be added to  OverDrive Marketplace this summer:


This Man Confessed by Jodi Ellen Malpas


The stunning conclusion to the This Man Trilogy!


The Manor, the very place where their passionate love affair began, fills with guests on what should be the happiest day of Ava and Jesse’s lives. She has accepted that she’ll never tame the fierceness in Jesse-and she doesn’t want to. Their love is profound, their connection powerful, but just when she thinks that she’s finally gotten beneath his guarded exterior, more questions arise, leading Ava to believe that Jesse Ward may not be the man she thinks he is. He knows too well how to take her to a place beyond ecstasy . . . but will he also drive her to the brink of despair? It’s time for this man to confess.


The Bat by Jo Nesbo



Before Harry took on the neo-Nazi gangs of Oslo, before he met Rakel, before The Snowman tried to take everything he held dear, he went to Australia. Harry Hole is sent to Sydney to investigate the murder of Inger Holter, a young Norwegian girl, who was working in a bar. Initially sidelined as an outsider, Harry becomes central to the Australian police investigation when they start to notice a number of unsolved rape and murder cases around the country. The victims were usually young blondes. Then a circus performer is brutally murdered followed by yet another young woman. Harry is in a race against time to stop highly intelligent killer, who is bent on total destruction.


"Like Larsson’s, his novels are maddeningly addictive: be prepared for more whirlwind rides through those unpronounceable Scandinavian street names.”
—Vanity Fair


"A first-rate whodunit…. A twisty, fast-paced concoction stocked with ample red herrings…. This origin tale is both a groundbreaking operation and a sumptuous, satisfying meal."

Winnipeg Free Press


Unseen: A Novel by Karin Slaughter


Will Trent is a Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent whose latest case has him posing as Bill Black, a scary ex-con who rides a motorcycle around Macon, Georgia, and trails an air of violence wherever he goes. But undercover and cut off from the support of the woman he loves, Sara Linton, Will finds his demons catching up with him. Although she has no idea where Will has gone, or why, Sara herself has come to Macon because of a cop shooting: Her stepson, Jared, has been gunned down in his own home. Furious, Sara finds herself involved in the same case that Will is working without even knowing it, and soon danger is swirling around both of them.


In a novel of fierce intensity, shifting allegiances, and shocking twists, two investigations collide with a conspiracy straddling both sides of the law. Karin Slaughter's latest is both an electrifying thriller and a piercing study of human nature: what happens when good people face the unseen evils in their lives.


"Karin Slaughter is one of the best crime novelists in America."—The Washington Post


"Crime fiction at its finest."—Michael Connelly


"An absolute master."—Chicago Tribune


"Slaughter will have you on the edge of your seat."—Seattle Post-Intelligencer


Stay tuned for more new titles added later this month!


*Titles may vary by geographic location


Rob Mooney is a Collection Development Specialist at OverDrive